Learn How to Become a Mortgage Field Service Inspector

Insurance Loss Inspections

Work Codes:

[Loss Draft, Insurance Loss, IL, Construction Draw]

 

PHOTO REQUIREMENT: (Depending on the size of loss)

  • Front
  • Street Sign
  • Address
  • Photos of all completed repairs according to the Scope of Work
  • Photos of all unfinished or incomplete repairs according to the Scope of Work

 

Why Do We Conduct IL Inspections?

Any time a mortgaged property has an insurance claim filed against it by the homeowner, the insurance company will send the homeowner a check containing the names of both the homeowner and the mortgage company. This is because the homeowner does not own the home outright. Hence the term “mortgaged”.  The mortgage company has a stake in what’s involved with the home. If there are damages, the mortgage company has the right to ensure that the repairs are completed and the property is brought back to a condition prior to any damages incurred.

 

The Three Most Important Parts to an IL Inspection:

  1. Make the appointment with the homeowner within the first 1 to 6 hours of receiving the work order. (No calls after 9 PM)
  2. Take photos of all completed repairs as well as those not completed.
  3. Calculate the percentage of completion based on the Scope of Work.
  4. Get the homeowner to sign the Insurance Loss form.  Some call it a homeowner satisfaction form.

 

Setting the Appointment

Every call attempt must be documented in the Info/Comments tab on the website version of InspectorADE.  We report to our clients several times daily and they call us several times a day requesting an appointment update.

Every day make a minimum of 2 call attempts.  One in the AM, and one in the PM.  Enter your attempts on the work order of InspectorADE. The time and date of your attempt will automatically be entered on InspectorADE as you open the work order and click on the Info/Comments tab, at the comment section.

If the phone numbers provided are disconnected or no longer in service, you must inform your Account Manager immediately so they can attempt to get new phone numbers for you.

If you are on the road making appointment calls, or a homeowner calls you back while on the road, include the time that the call took place on the comments section when you return to your computer.  You can abbreviate your notes: LVM (Left Voice Message), if you like.  If while on the road you set up your appointment, or receive a return call from the mortgagor, send your Account Manager an email or call them with the information.  Always leave a voice mail with the details. They will record this information and pass it on to the client immediately.  Then once you have an online connection with InspectorADE, make sure the appointment is entered on the comments of the Info/Comments tab of the inspection.  At this time, your appointments can only be entered on the website InspectorADE program, as the phone app does not yet have the capability to record appointments on the report.

Tip: When speaking to the homeowner, just say ‘Your mortgage company wanted me to come by and take some photos of the completed repairs. Is everything 100% finished or are they still working on it?‘.  If the repairs won’t be completely finished until next Tuesday, then maybe it would be best to set the appointment up for the following day or the day after that.  The “due date” will change to whatever you set the appointment for.  So no need to worry about due dates.

Once your appointment is set, write and record it in this format:

Appt. set for Thurs, 4/29 @ 9 AM.

We copy and paste this information and send via email to the client, so please use a capital letter to start your sentence.

The due date will be changed by your Account Manager to reflect the date you set the appointment for.  You may want to consider sending us a message to remind us to change the due date so that it does not adversely reflect upon your turnaround time for the month.

Insurance Loss inspection appointments within the first six hours are critical to the homeowner to receive payment of a repaired or replaced property loss. The repair contractor(s) have to be paid at the time the work is completed. Insurance Loss inspections are tremendously important, and can cause great damage to our company if not handled in a quick and efficient manner.

How important is it to call and make an appointment?  We once lost an entire inspection account over just one IL inspection that the inspector never called to set an appointment for.  All the inspector had to do was to call the homeowner and set the appointment.  It’s not when the appointment is scheduled for, it’s all about setting the appointment for a future date.

 

Insurance Claim Homeowner Shock!

One of the biggest shocks that a homeowner faces after filing a claim is to see that the check issued by the insurance company has to be endorsed by the mortgage company. Most homeowners don’t have a clue as to why their mortgage company would get themselves involved in a matter that they feel is none of their business.  But it is the mortgage companies business, and rightfully so.  Mortgage companies have lost a great deal of money on repairs that were never completed by the homeowner, who received the money, but never completed the repairs, and is against the law.   This is called insurance fraud.

99% of homeowners have every intention of getting their properties back to the condition it was before the claim was filed. The next dilemma they face is finding out that the mortgage company will not endorse the check until AFTER the repairs are completed.  This appears to be a very perplexing situation for the homeowner.  They find out that they can’t use the money to pay a contractor to make the repairs until after the repairs are not only completed, but inspected by us!

Homeowners who have never gone through the claims process don’t realize that there are thousands of contractors out there that know how the game is played.  These contractors know that materials and labor must be bought and provided upfront, and the job is complete before they get paid.  This is why it is so very important to call to set up the appointment as soon as possible.  The contractor wants to get paid upon completion of the work, and may pester the homeowner until they’re paid.  At that point the homeowner is calling the mortgage company followed by the mortgage company calling us every four hours for updates.  It’s a very vicious cycle.  Don’t be the link that starts the cycle.  The problems IL inspections cause are easily remedied by simply getting the appointment set as soon as possible, and then letting your Account Manager know the time and date of that appointment.

It’s not so much that the inspection has to be completed right away, but that the appointment is set right away.  Setting the appointment will cause everyone to relax and stay calm in what is otherwise a very intense situation.  Anytime we are involved with other people’s money, there is a certain degree of tension involved.  Setting the appointment as soon as possible will stop the calls to the mortgage company, and stop the calls from the mortgage company, and then to us.

Set the appointment As Soon As Possible.

Sometimes after your inspection, the homeowner or the contractor may be so impatient and frustrated that they may ask you to sign the check (endorse it).

No one in our company or those who contract for our company is authorized to sign any check. (PERIOD) Do NOT sign or endorse any check.

The work we inspect is not always 100% complete.  Sometimes we are provided with the contractor’s phone number.   Sometimes the contractor will ask for a draw inspection. In that case we are there to determine the percentage of completion as it relates to the entire Scope of Work.   In that case take photos of the completed repairs, AS WELL AS ALL UNCOMPLETED REPAIRS!

 

Photos – IL Form:

Every IL inspection should have a front photo as well as an address photo. The address photo seems a little ridiculous, especially when we are meeting the homeowner or the contractor who could verify if we are at the correct property or not. You would think. Our clients will reject the inspection if it does not have the address photo. Address photos are required.

The most common IL inspection we conduct is for roof replacement. The majority of roof inspections do not require us to enter the interior of the home in most cases. In some cases with some of our clients, no forms are required to be signed by the homeowner, and no appointment is required.  These are case-by-case basis and may be classified as a drive-by inspection. Roof photos are still required.

Our contractors are NOT authorized to climb ladders or to climb on the roof to inspect the roof. This is where the zoom on your cell phone camera comes in. [Since zoomed photos often come out blurry, you might want to take several zoomed photos just in case.]

Try to capture at least a couple good 5×5 square foot area shots of the roof to help show the condition of the roof close-up.

asphalt_shingles

 

 

 

This photo taken with maximum zoom from a Samsung Galaxy S4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take photos all the way around the property, providing the best shots to help the mortgage company see that the roof was in fact replaced. When a roof is replaced, the contractor will install a new drip edge. The drip edge helps prevent water from entering underneath the shingle edges which would damage the roof over time. The drip edge when installed new or before painted is often stainless steel or aluminum. It may still be shiny and can be easily seen.

dripedge

This is a good photo to take as well to help show that the roof has been replaced.

(NO LADDERS!) We are NOT authorized to climb any ladders, not for inspections, not for photos.

Sometimes it is hard to tell whether or not the roof has been replaced or not, especially in the winter. We do not proceed with a roof inspection if the roof is covered by snow. We have to be able to see the roof. In cases like this, the homeowner will have to wait until the snow melts for their inspection.

A new roof may sometimes appear to be sticking up in places. Asphalt shingles have tar on the bottom side of the shingle which needs heat from the sun to settle it down and to glue itself to the next shingle. Missing shingles of course is a warning sign that the roof was not replaced.

Whenever we encounter a situation where the old roof shingles were not removed, and new shingles were placed on top of the old shingles, this should be well documented.  In most cases the Scope of Work from the insurance company is paying for the old shingles to be removed.  The homeowner or the contractor may be attempting to defraud the mortgage company and pocket the difference.  It is not our job to approve or disapprove the job.  We only have to carefully document that a second layer of shingles were placed on top of the old shingles.  It then becomes a problem for the homeowner and mortgage company to resolve.

Often times a homeowner will do the repair themselves which is perfectly acceptable as long as the work appears to be in a workman like manner.  However, if it appears the homeowner only replaced the “bad” shingles and pocketed the rest of the money, document this.  The Scope of Work will indicate if they were paid to remove the old shingles and replace the entire roof with new shingles, or just a portion of the roof with new shingles. Sometimes the insurance company will only pay for one side or the other of the roof, depending on the damages.

Download and print the form/instructions which usually contain the document that the homeowner must sign.

Every inspection has to be signed by the homeowner (unless the client does not require it for roof inspections) or unless our client otherwise states that we have permission to allow the contractor to sign it.  The form they are signing is a statement as to the percentage of completion that the work was performed.  It also proves that we actually conducted the inspection. If for any reason the homeowner does not agree with your assessment of completion percentage and refuses to sign the form, no problem. We just tell them that we can turn it in as is after indicating the homeowners reason for not signing the form.

 

Scope of Work (List of Repairs)

The “Scope of Work” is what most mortgage companies call the document from the insurance company that lists all the repairs that are to be completed.  Others call it an itemized List of Repairs.  It all means the same thing.  You have to have this before you can do the inspection. It should be attached as a document to the work order in InspectorADE.   If an appointment is set and by the day of the appointment arrives and you still do not have the Scope of Work, you cannot complete the inspection. That is how important the Scope of Work is.  Otherwise, you will not know what to inspect! We are not authorized to simply go by what the homeowner tells us. There may be times however, that we are requested to ask the homeowner if they can provide us a copy of the Scope of Work given to them by the insurance company. In that case, ask them to prepare a separate copy for your arrival. Take the copy with you for reference.

We NEVER take the word of the homeowner, or even ask their opinion as to what they think the completed percentage is.  That is what we are getting paid for.  If you meet a contractor on the job, they may try to tell you that the job is more complete than it actually is.

It’s not difficult to determine the percentage of completion.  No experience in the construction industry is required to be able to determine a bare cement floor is not new carpet.  Take the list of repairs (Scope of Work) with you and go line by line down the list.   Circle what is completed or not completed.  What ever works best for you.  Bring a calculator with you.

After your inspection you must use the Actual Cash Value (ACV) column and deduct from the total, the amount of work that has not been completed to come up with the total completed percentage.  Enter the total percentage completed before the homeowner signs the IL form.  If more time is needed, take the forms out in your car and figure it out there.  Do not allow pressure to compel you to enter incorrect or inaccurate information. It has to be truthful and accurate.  This is why insurance inspections usually pay more than standard fees.  It takes more time to do the job right.

Example Math:  If the ACV total for the repairs is $18,969 and you determined that $14,388 worth of repairs have been completed so far, simply take the smaller number and divide it by the larger number:  14,388 ÷ 18,969 which equals .7585 or 76% complete.  Depending on the client, some forms will allow you to put whole numbers like 76, while others will only allow you to enter percentages as multiples of 5. (75, 80, 85, 90 etc.)  In that case, round it to the nearest number.

–Materials on the job-site do NOT constitute a repair.

-We can NEVER sign our name for the homeowner.  In most cases we have to get permission from our client if the contractor can sign it in place of the homeowner.

-Completed and signed IL forms must be scanned as a .jpg file, not as a PDF file.  No photos of the form are accepted.

-We do not provide copies to the homeowner.  If a homeowner asks for a copy, inform them that the mortgage company will provide them with any copies they ask for by calling them.

-We never tell the homeowner when they will receive their money orwhen they can even expect to see their money.  We do not have this information.  Never guess or provide procedure other than the fact that you conduct the inspection and turn it into the client.  It’s up to the mortgage company to handle the documents from there.

 

Perfect Example of an Insurance Fraud Attempt

(The example below only shows select photos and not the entire inspection.)

We had an insurance loss inspection on a house that had wind damage that blew off roof shingles.  The rain got inside and made the ceilings wet, stained and damaged. Some of the water got on the carpets as well as ruining the attic insulation.

The Scope of Work (please download to study) showed us that the entire roof shingles were to be removed and replaced as well as several room ceilings.  Along with several other photos of the roof, the photo below was the best photo that indicated to us that the shingles were replaced as required by the Scope of work.

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The roof wasn’t the problem, even though the homeowner completed the repairs himself.

The problem came when we inspected for completed repairs on the interior of the house. According to the Scope of Work, most of the ceilings had to have the sheet rock removed and replaced, or at the very least, the existing “popcorn” acoustic ceiling texture was supposed to be scraped and then re-popped (sprayed with ceiling texture).  A good example of this is found on page 8 from the Scope of Work where it tells us in part that:

– A 32 SF section of the ceiling was to be removed and replaced
– 6″ of R20 ceiling installation was to be removed and replaced
– The remaining acoustic ceiling was to be scraped off and replaced with new popcorn texture
– The scrapped ceiling was to have anti-microbial agent applied to prevent mold
– Then it was supposed to be sealed with latex basted stain blocker

The insurance claim for just the Living Room was supposed to be $360 dollars.

Instead, the homeowner thought he could make a buck or two by making the repairs himself with a few handy products from the hardware store…

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The completed repairs were horrifying!

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completed repairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see in the photos above, the ceilings were not repaired in accordance with the Scope of Work.  If spot painting was all that the insurance company intended for the homeowner to do, then they would have written a check for $30 bucks to buy ceiling texture in a can!

The homeowner made the comment that the repairs were good enough for him since he is the one who has to live there.  DO NOT fall for this type of sentiment. No matter how we feel about our homes, if it is mortgaged, we are not the ones to decide what is acceptable or not.  The insurance company wrote a check to have the repairs completed professionally by skilled craftsman.  If we were to agree with the homeowner that the repairs were 100% complete, and later on down the road the mortgage company had to foreclose or otherwise found out about the shoddy workmanship, we, and YOU, would be responsible for the money it would take to get the property back to the condition that the insurance claim paid for.

This homeowner even tried to tell us that the “Chicken Coop” was repaired.

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Of course, according to the Scope of Work, the Chicken Coop had a metal roof and had 14′ x 15.5′ measurements.  It is not hard to see that this is just a 10′ x 10′ chain link fence dog enclosure.

Look at your Scope of Work carefully.  Our job is to discover insurance loss claim fraud and report it to the mortgage company. In most cases, people will hire a contractor to have the job completed right.  We are not home inspectors and we are not really qualified to determine the level of quality of craftsmanship. But when it comes to a case like this one, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what is going on here. All we have to do use the Scope of Work provided. Either it is completed and repaired or it is not.


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